“There is a fellow in the garden.” Maria came in from the cooking ramada to report a stranger on the property.
“What does he look like?” Clara put down her packing.
“He looks woolly, with whiskers and long hair. He is humming to himself. Maybe he’s loco.” Maria led the sisters to the rear of the house to peek out in the backyard. Old Ernesto leaned against the shed where Papa lived with his brothers years ago. He looked woolly, his tattered pants and faded jacket blended in with the cabin that was only fit for firewood.
“We recognize him. It’s old Ernesto.” Alicia didn’t tell Maria that Papa intended to have this man work with her son. “I’ll go find Papa and let him know.”
“Don’t go out there alone, Maria. Wait till Papa comes.” Clara remembered the time Ernesto arrived with Tío Salvador, singing like a crazy fellow.
“Ah, you remember the old shack, eh, Ernesto? It is good of you to come and help me make repairs.” Papa was quick to greet his old friend like an honored guest, even though he looked like an aged tramp. The women watched from the back door, all three thinking neither the old drunk nor the cabin were fit for repair. “We all get old and require some fixing. Come down to the dock with me; we’ll talk.” Papa lead the man away.
“What’s going on here?” Mama came to the doorway where the women shook their heads with disapproval. “Oh, is that Ernesto with your Papa? He was once such a handsome man.”
“Oh, Mama, that cannot be true!” Clara said. “I hope Papa does not intend to let him in the house.”
“He wants to clean the old cabin so Ernesto will have a place to sleep and work.” Mama said. Lupita stood behind her holding baby Carlos. Mama held out a little piece of fruit for Carlos who stuffed it in his tiny mouth.
“You girls should be packing. Leave your Papa to his own business.”
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